Live to please the others, and everyone will love you, except yourself.
~ Paul Coelho
Perhaps nothing brings more people to their knees (or to an astrologer) than the trials and tribulations of relating to others – family members, coworkers, neighbors and intimate relationships. I was my number one challenge for years – and it remains of utmost importance to me – to have loving, supportive relationships.
Along the way, I discovered a powerful key to finding and maintaining healthy relationships.
The way to healthy relationships is through cultivating a loving, supportive relationship with yourself first.
It may sound counter-intuitive. Let me explain. You are the perceiver and interpreter of all the experiences of your life. Therefore, whatever happens externally, you are the one who gives it all the meaning it holds. When someone doesn’t call when you expected or at all, you decide whether that was because they don’t care about you any more, were absent-minded, too busy, or whatever.
If you are the one who decides what has meaning in any relationship, it stands to reason you are more likely to encounter (read “interpret”) positive relationships when you are feeling good about yourself.
When you feel worthy and valued in yourself, you not only experience (read “interpret”) more positive interactions, but you are also more likely to express more love and support to others. You will find those who are attracted to you are naturally more loving and supportive of you just as you are, with all your strengths and weaknesses.
Those who don’t appreciate you just fall by the wayside as you will seek out the company of those who do. If you feel good about yourself, why would you settle for the company of anyone who was less than a loving, supportive influence?
You can hold a kind attitude for everyone at the same time that you choose not to endure the company of anyone who disrespects, takes advantage of or minimizes who you are. We are meant to live, love and be happy without becoming anyone’s “punching bag” – literally or figuratively.
So, what does it mean to be loving and supportive of yourself? You can start by catching that critical internal voice (abusive self-talk) and change your inner dialogue. Instead, say encouraging, supportive words to yourself like you would say to your best friend. Acknowledge when you have done something well or been kind to another. And even if you think you have fallen short, simply encourage yourself to do better next time and let go of the guilt.
Next, listen for what your emotions are telling you. What brings you joy? What do you dislike? Move away from distressing emotional situations as if pushing away from a hot stove. Make time to do the things you enjoy as you open to the wonders of the world around you.
You will begin to notice that as you start treating yourself with the same loving support that you would give to your best friend, you are paving the way to healthier relationships with others.